Memorandum from the Environment Agency
Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from
the Abstraction Licence Review Programme Manager
I enclose a Memorandum in which I set out how
the Licensing system in England and Wales works. I also enclose
a copy of the Agency's Abstraction Charges Scheme, which is referred
to in the section on Charges. I hope this Memorandum will suffice
in answering your request for a brief potted history of regulation.
You also ask about water monitoring. The principal
reasons for doing this are:
for general management of rivers
and underground waters;
to assess available resources for
in river needs, the environment, including river water quality
and for sustainable abstraction;
to be able to control the taking
of water by eg setting proscribed flows to be passes downstream
of abstraction points;
to monitor actual abstraction and
see that abstractors comply with licence conditions; and
to assist with flood defence design
and flood warning.
With regard to changes expected with the implementation
of new legislation, I would refer you to the Government's decisions
following consultation, published in March 1999, in the document
"Taking Water Responsibly".
We can let you have some statistics and I am
asking my colleague in our Bristol Head Office to let you have
a copy of the most recent annual Return form which we send to
the DETRknown as the Section 201 return. This shows by
category of user, the total volume of water licensed for abstraction,
and the total quantities actually abstracted. It breaks these
down to show whether the water comes from surface sources, groundwaters
or from tidal sources. I do not recall it showing consumption
in the drinks industry as a separate category. However, my colleague
in our Demand Management Centre has some information in this regard
which should be useful to you and to the Committee.
Finally, you ask for views on the differences
between the monitoring requirements of England and Wales, and
Scotland. I do not feel we can comment with any authority as we
have little or no experience of the Scottish systems.
Abstraction Licence Review Programme Manager
WATER ABSTRACTION AND IMPOUNDMENT IN ENGLAND
1. Water is one of our most valuable resources.
Normally, England and Wales have sufficient water to meet demands.
However, resources are limited and they are not always in the
right place at the right time. Demand for water is increasing;
there is growing competition for the available resources. The
Environment Agency is responsible for ensuring that water resources
are managed effectively and for the benefit of everyone. We fulfil
this role principally through a system of abstraction licensing.
As a requirement under the Water Resources Act 1991, almost anyone
who wants to take water from a surface (eg river, stream or canal)
or underground source must obtain a licence to do so from us.
Similarly, anyone wanting to impound water (eg construct a dam
or lake that will be on-stream) must also obtain a licence from
Why are licences necessary?
2. The Environment Agency needs to ensure
that water resources are safeguarded and that abstractions do
not damage the environment. Without licences, persistent over
abstraction could lead to shortages in water supply, increased
river pollution by reducing dilution of pollutants, damage to
fisheries and wildlife habitats and ultimately to the loss of
rivers for our recreation and enjoyment. By licensing, we can
control the level of abstraction to protect both water supplies
and the environment.
3. The Agency is charged with the general
duty of managing water resources
in England and Wales.
The law sets down certain guidelines for this: for example, the
Agency must pay special attention to:
public water supply requirements;
the costs and benefits of what it
the aim of sustainable development;
environmental considerations; and
the effects of proposals on the economic
and social well-being of rural areas.
4. To achieve this the Agency has a variety
of legal powers. Foremost amongst these is the system of licensing
abstractions and impoundments.
5. In addition the Agency can initiate proposals
for establishing minimum acceptable flows in watercourses,
has powers of enforcement and related powers of entry, has information
gathering powers, may make special arrangements with water companies,
and has powers to help it manage drought situations.
6. The Agency does not control or protect
all water resource use. There are certain important exemptions
from licensing control. However (apart from the small domestic
and agricultural exemption) such use does not carry with it the
corresponding protection from derogation which a licence gives.
On the other hand the Agency must have regard to such uses when
determining licence applications.
7. The Agency has a duty, indeed it is its
principle aim, to contribute towards attaining sustainable development.
One definition of this is development that meets the needs of
the present without compromising the ability of future generations
to meet their own needs. The duty can be translated into positive
steps to take when making decisions, giving advice, etc. The Government
has produced a booklet setting out what it sees as the theory
and practice of sustainable development
which the Agency must have regard to in exercising its functions.
Government advice on water management
8. The Government advice has sections dealing
specifically with the different Agency functions. For water management
A strategic approach to catchment
protection, through catchment management planning, so site specific
activities are seen in a wider context, and are compatible with
The need to work with natural river
and coastal processes not against them wherever possible.
Integration of technical, economic
and environmental factors in decision-making.
Proper consultation with agricultural,
recreational, commercial, environmental and other interests affected
by the Agency's activities.
9. The guidance endorses the objectives
of the National Water Resource Strategy.
It encourages the Agency to influence local authority development
it is an "important consultee".
10. Drinking water supply is of primary
concern, but it is recognised that as pressures on resources increase,
the needs of this and other uses for abstracted water will need
to be reconciled. The guidance encourages the Agency to work with
abstraction towards this end, and to use its powers to encourage
water conservation in areas of potential shortage (where economic
to do so). It should also encourage development of new resources
in a sustainable way where they are needed, though with regard
for efficient water storage and leakage control.
Cost benefit considerations
11. The Agency must take into account the
likely costs and benefits in the exercise (or non-exercise) of
any of its powers.
The duty recognises that sustainable development involves both
economic development and protecting and enhancing the environment.
Costs include costs to any person or organisation or to the environment.
Water company arrangements
12. The Agency must, so far as reasonably
practicable and so far as it considers appropriate for carrying
out its water resources management functions, enter into and maintain
arrangements with water companies to secure proper management
or operation of their sources of supply, reservoirs or other works.
13. Disputed matters may be referred to
the Secretary of State or the Director General of Water Services.
14. The Agency must send a copy of the arrangements
to the Secretary of State, who can enforce the obligations against
the water company under s.18 Water Industry Act 1991.
15. Agreements may also be made with water
companies (and others) under s.158 WRA 1991. Such agreements however
tend to refer to detail which cannot satisfactorily go in a licence
and are more an aid to enforcement.
16. European law has had a more limited
impact in water resources management than in other areas (like
water quality). However its influence is already there, and is
likely to grow.
17. The directives whose effects may be
of direct concern to licensing staff relate to environmental impact
and disclosure of environmental information.
Interpretation in appeals cases and by the courts
18. The water resources legislation is a
statutory code. Appeal decisions by the Secretary of State provide
some guidance on how it may be interpreted. A few cases get to
the High Court (or beyond).
How does the licensing system work?
19. A licence gives its holder a right to
take water from the stated source every year, until it expires
or the holder wishes to give up that right by cancelling it. A
licence guarantees that no one else who would require a licence
can lawfully take the share of water allocated to the licence
holder without the consent of the licence holder. Moreover, a
licence indemnifies its holder against any effect the authorised
abstraction may have on other existing rights to abstract water.
However, it does not guarantee the quality of the water or that
the amount authorised for abstraction will always be available.
This will often depend on weather conditions and other factors
outside our control.
20. Except for some licences for less than
20 cubic metres per day applications will need to be advertised
in the local press and London Gazette before being submitted.
Notices also have to be served on the local water company and
certain other bodies. Before granting a new licence, we look at
the water requirements of the applicant to assess whether they
are reasonable. We check that no 'protected rights' will be affected
(a licence cannot be granted which will derogate from an existing
right except with the specific consent of the person who holds
that right). The potential effect of the abstraction on river
flows and groundwater resources is assessed, as are effects on
amenity value, public health, land drainage, navigation, fisheries
and nature conservation. We also have regard to representatives
made to us following public notification.
About the abstraction licence
An abstraction licence will generally state:
how much water can be taken;
when in the year water can be taken;
what the water can be used for;
the land where the water can be used;
the name and address of the licensed
the duration of the licence;
the source of supply, eg name of
underground strata, river, etc;
the means of abstraction, eg borehole,
conditions to protect other interests
and the water environment;
the means by which abstraction is
measured and records kept.
21. Conditions can be placed on licences
to protect the available water resource and to ensure adequate
flows or levels are available to maintain environmental stability.
A common condition is that the abstraction must not result in
the river flow being depleted below a pre-set or prescribed flow.
If a licence is for the purpose of spray irrigation, there may
be times, for example during a drought, when further restrictions
are placed on abstraction. Indeed, under conditions of extreme
water resource shortages abstraction for spray irrigation may
be banned altogether. Winter abstractions into storage lagoons
would, however, normally be exempt from these restrictions.
About the impounding licence
22. The process for obtaining an impounding
licence is very similar to the process for obtaining an abstraction
23. An impounding licence will authorise
the construction of impounding works and will generally state:
The description of the inland water
to be impounded
The point at which it may be impounded
Conditions to protect other interests
and the water environment, including any flow requirements to
be passed down stream of the impounding works
A description of the impounding works
Who requires a licence?
24. Anyone wanting to take water from a
surface or underground source or wanting to impound water, must
normally hold an abstraction or an impounding licence. There are
a number of exceptions, the more common ones being:
one-off abstractions up to 20 cubic
metres (subject to our consent if greater than five cubic metres);
abstraction of 20 cubic metres or
less per day from a surface water source running through or bordering
the abstractor's land, for domestic or agricultural purposes other
than spray irrigation;
abstraction of 20 cubic metres or
less per day from underground strata for the domestic purposes
of one household;
abstraction to test for the presence,
quantity or quality of water (with Environmental Agency consent)
in underground strata; and
water used for fire fighting.
Note: 20 cubic metres is equivalent to 20,000
litres or approximately 4,400 gallons, and is about the capacity
of two milk tankers.
How to obtain a licence
25. The applicant must be the occupier or
prospective occupier of the land on which the abstraction point
is located. In some circumstances a right of access may be adequate.
26. If the licence that is required is for
a borehole or well then, in most cases, it will first be necessary
for the applicant to obtain consent from us to construct and test
pump the proposed source before they apply for a licence. Such
consent enables the applicant to determine how much water may
be available, whether taking it will have an effect on other abstractors
and the environment and if it is suitable for their needs. The
consent will specify where and how deep the borehole or well can
be and how it should be tested.
27. The applicant will almost certainly
be required to send us an environmental report with the application.
The scope and content will be case dependent so we will discuss
this with the applicant during pre application discussions.
28. Whatever the nature of the proposed
abstraction, the first step towards obtaining a licence will be
to contact us. The general outline of the procedure involved in
obtaining a licence is shown in the flow diagram below.
29. In some cases, there are exceptions
to this procedure and it is important that the applicant contacts
us before contemplating any form of abstraction, reservoir construction
or sinking a borehole.
30. Provided the Agency is supplied with
all the required information, a decision on whether to grant a
licence and the conditions to which it may be subject, should
be made within three months although more complex applications
may take longer. We can ask applicants for their agreement for
a longer period for us to determine their application if necessary.
If a licence is refused, or conditions placed on it that the applicant
finds unacceptable, then there is a right of appeal to the Secretary
of State for the Environment, if in England or to the National
Assembly for Wales, if in Wales, within one month of our decision.
Taking over an existing abstraction licence
31. A person or company may be about to
occupy land for which there is an existing licence to abstract
water. If this is the case and they wish to continue to exercise
the right to abstract water, they will need to "succeed"
to the licence. They have up to 15 months from taking occupation
to notify us that they want to succeed to the licence or a part
of it. If we do not receive notice in time, they will lose the
licence. Early contact with us is therefore important.
32. An application charge will normally
be payable by an applicant for the work that the Environment Agency
does in processing the application. If the licence is granted,
they will also normally pay an annual charge for the amount of
water they are authorised to abstract, (not for what they actually
use). The level of annual charge will depend on what they use
the water for, the source from which it is taken, and the season
in which the water is taken. For spray irrigation, because the
large difference from year to year in the quantities of water
needed, it is possible to have charges calculated partly on the
quantity of water licensed for abstraction and partly on the quantity
used. This charging arrangement is called a two-part tariff and
requires a special agreement. A copy of the Agency's Charges Scheme
is attached. For an impounding licence, applicants will only have
to pay an application chargethere are no annual charges.
What is the money used for?
33. Money raised from abstraction charges
is used to fund all our costs in ensuring that water resources
are properly managed. In addition to ensuring the proper use of
water resources through the licensing system, money is spent on
augmenting river flows, determining national and regional water
resource strategies, and providing and maintaining a network of
river and rainfall monitoring stations etc.
What if a licence holders needs change?
34. If at any time an abstractors requirements
for water change, they can apply to vary their licence. Variations
can have a considerable effect on a water source and are assessed
as thoroughly as new licence applications. Variations such as
changing the name on a licence or reductions in the amount of
water authorised can usually be made without charge or the need
THE LICENSING SYSTEM IN MORE DETAIL
The Agency's duties generally
35. The Agency has general and specific
duties intended to benefit the environment. These arise from the
Environment Act 1995
as well as other legislation, in particular under European Law.
Under the Environment Act 1995, the Agency's principal aim, subject
to other statutory provisions and taking into account costs, is
to discharge its functions so to protect or enhance the environment
and overall to make a contribution towards achieving sustainable
36. The Government may also issue codes
of practice giving practical guidance to the Agency about how
to exercise these duties and to promote desirable practices in
relation to them, and the Agency must have regard to what the
code provides in discharging its duties.
There is such guidance in relation to conservation, access and
and sustainable development.
General environmental responsibility
37. The Agency has a general discretionary
duty ("to such extent as it considers desirable") to
promote (a) the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty
and amenity of inland and coastal waters and of land associated
with such waters; (b) the conservation of flora and fauna which
are dependent on an aquatic environment; and (c) the use of such
waters and land for recreational purposes, in particular taking
into account the needs of persons who are chronically sick or
Mandatory environmental duties
38. First, when the Agency is formulating
or considering any proposals, other than in relation to its pollution
control functions, it must exercise its powers over the proposals
so as to further the conservation and enhancement
of natural beauty and the conservation of flora, fauna and geological
or physiographical features of special interest.
On the other hand, exercise of the duty has to be consistent with
the underlying purpose of what the Agency is doing (eg licensing)
and with the objective of achieving sustainable development.
Duties in relation to sites of special interest
39. This applies to sites where the statutory
nature conservation agencies
consider that land is of special interest
and may be affected by works or operations which the Agency may
do or authorise.
They must notify the Agency accordingly. National Parks authorities
have a similar duty.
40. The Habitats Directive came into force
in 1994. Its objective is comprehensive conservation of natural
habitats and wild fauna and flora on land and at sea. It does
for habitats and species generally what the earlier (1979) Birds
Directive did for birds and bird habitats. It is closely modelled
on the Birds Directive and (relevant for present purposes) particularly
aims at the strict protection of special sites. Under the Birds
Directive such sites are known as Special Protection Areas; the
equivalent under the Habitats Directives are Special Areas of
Conservation. They may be collectively referred to as European
Sites and are supposed to establish a Europe-wide network of sites
known as Natura 2000. The Habitats Directive altered the site
protection provisions of the Birds Directive so that they both
work in exactly the same way.
41. The Habitats Directive has been implemented
in the UK by the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations
The key portion of these for present purposes are regs 47 to 53.
42. Like other licensing systems, water
resources licensing works by making it an offence to abstract
water, or to begin to construct or alter impounding works, without
a licence or unless covered by one of various exceptions set out
in the WRA 1991. An offence is a criminal matter and requires
proof in court to the same standard as other crimes ("beyond
Requirement for a licence
43. The basic abstraction-without-a-licence
offence is set out in s.24 WRA 1991. The corresponding rule relating
to impounding is in s.25. These cover such details as confirming
that an offence is also committed if a licence exists but conditions
are not complied with, and the need for a licence and compliance
with conditions on it also to construct or extend a well, borehole
etc or to install or modify machinery to facilitate abstraction
of additional quantities, etc.
44. For impoundments, the offence is against
beginning to construct or alter impounding works. It is possible
to apply for a combined abstraction and impounding licence.
As a matter of practice, however, the Agency will normally actually
issue separate licences.
Exceptions to the requirements for a licence
45. There are various exceptions to the
need for a licence. Some still require another form of authorisation
Most of these exceptions are in s.26 to 33 WRA
1991. Crown application is at s.222
and the drought rules between s.73 and 81.
Entitlement to apply for a licence
46. Section 35 provides that the Agency
"shall not entertain" a licence application unless the
applicant either occupies the land where he proposes to abstract
from or, in the case of inland waters (but not groundwater except
where water on the surface is treated as being in underground
or in succession situations)
has a right of access to it.
47. There are special rules relating to
entitlement to apply for licences to abstract from inland waters
owned or managed by British Waterways (BW) (restricted to BW)
and for ecclesiastical property.
48. Licence applications must normally be
(a) advertised, (b) notified to specified bodies (eg the water
undertaker for the area) and (c) be open to public inspection
for a specified period.
This is the applicant's responsibility. The requirement may be
waived, at the Agency's discretion, for small abstractions.
49. There are special provisions for the
Agency to notify National Park authorities in appropriate cases.
Determination of licence applications
50. The Agency has a wide discretion in
determining licence applications. It may put such conditions on
licences as it considers appropriate or may refuse to grant a
licence if it considers that is "necessary or expedient".
Various constraints, however, apply.
Grant of licences
51. Licences may be valid until revoked
or be time limited.
Agency policy is now to time limit most licences.
52. Licences have to contain other specified
information, for example as to quantity, means of measurement,
means of abstraction and (except in the case of water supply licences)
detail (in practice on a map) as to where the water may be used.
53. The licence must also specify the name
of the licence holder.
Being the holder of a licence and complying with the conditions
on it gives that person a defence to claims by others affected
by abstraction and/or impounding activity.
Involvement of the Secretary of State
54. The Secretary of State may become directly
involved in licence applications in the following circumstances.
If the applicant is dissatisfied
with the Agency's decision and wishes to appeal it.
Appeals are to the Secretary of State though are normally handled
and determined by the Planning Inspectorate.
If the Secretary of State decides
to call the application in or has directed that any particular
class of applications should be referred to him. This is uncommon.
In the case of the Agency applying
for licences itself. The Agency must always advise the Secretary
of State. If the Secretary of State has no comment, the licence
can go on actually to be granted by the Agency's own Board resolution.
Revocation and variation of licences
55. Licences may be revoked or varied, by
the licence holder, the Agency, or the Secretary of State. Variations
by the licence holder are normally
treated for publicity, determination etc. purposes like new licence
Variations imposed on the licence holder at the instance of the
Agency or Secretary of State involve procedures designed to protect
the licence holder's interests,
and compensation may be payable.
There is special provision for variation or revocation of licences
at the instance of an owner of fishing rights.
56. The Habitats Directive may require the
variation or revocation of licences in certain circumstances.
Succession to and other transfer of licences
57. Licence holders are individual entities
(persons, companies etc.) but licences usually require use of
water on particular land. This means there must be ways for them
to be transferred when the licence holder moves away and someone
else wants to make use of the licence. The principal mechanisms
are the so-called "succession" rules which deal with
changes to occupation of land over which a licence authorises
use of water, including situations where a parcel of land is divided.
58. Where no land is specified, and/or where
for other reasons it is desired to change the name of the licence
holder, this may be achieved by variation. Whether this requires
advertising etc. depends on the circumstances. Water company licences
may sometimes be transferred under special amalgamation etc. schemes.
Charging for licences
59. The Agency's management of water resources
is paid for by charging licence holders for what they are authorised
to abstract under a national charging scheme approved by the Secretary
60. Special arrangements ("two part
tariffs") are available to spray irrigators to reflect the
fact that irrigation may not always be needed; the charge is always
payable on half the authorised quantity, and above that only to
the extent that water is actually used.
61. Charges are calculated by reference
to the type of use (whether this results in very low, low, medium
or high loss of water), the season when abstraction takes place
(winter, summer, or all year); the volume authorised to be abstracted;
and a special charge factor depending on which of the Agency's
eight regions the abstraction takes place in.
62. Some activities, although requiring
a licence, are exempt from charges. These include groundwater
abstractions for agricultural purposes (other than spray irrigation)
of not more than 20m3/day and small hydropower related abstractions.
63. The Agency may suspend or revoke licences
for non-payment of charges.
64. The charges scheme has been laid down
by the Secretary of State and is available as a separate document
which the Agency publishes annually.
Licences of right
65. When the licensing system was introduced
in 1965, people who could show they had been abstracting before
then were allowed to receive licences based on what they had been
doing, ie without the need to go through the normal application
process. These licences were called "licences of right".
66. The Water Act 1989 similarly brought
certain types of abstraction which had previously been exempt
within the licensing "net". Pre-existing abstractions
were entitled to licences of right (commonly known as "licences
of entitlement") on a similar basis.
Derogation, compensation and indemnity
67. Rights to abstract are valuable and
the law recognises that if these are curtailed, for example by
issue of a licence which derogates from those rights, or if the
Agency revokes or varies the licence, compensation should be paid.
There is no liability to pay compensation where a licence has
not been used for seven years.
68. The liability to pay compensation falls
first on the Agency, though the Secretary of State may choose
to indemnify it.
Information gathering and disclosure
69. There is inevitable tension between:
Licence holders (and holders of other
consents, people who have applied for licences etc.) who like
to keep information about their abstractions to themselves, and
dealings with the Agency private.
The Agency, which needs information
about abstractions, whether licenced or not, in order to manage
The public, which has always been
entitled (through Public Registers) to basic information about
abstraction licences, but which society now regards as entitled
to much wider information about activities which affect the environment.
70. This shift in attitudes, from a culture
of secrecy to relative openness, is reflected in quite complex
legal provisions, which can be difficult for the Agency (and similar
public bodies in other fields) to interpret.
Essentially, the principle now is that information should be released
unless there is good reason not to.
71. The Agency has power to require information
about any abstractions.
It requires routine returns from licence holders. However the
power can be used to require information about any abstraction,
whether licensed or not.
72. The Licences Regulations require licence
applicants to provide the Agency with certain information to enable
it to determine applications sensibly.
Powers of entry, works powers etc.
73. In order to perform its functions effectively,
both of water resources management and in other areas, the Agency
needs powers which override the interests of private landowners.
These "land and works" powers are wide, but relevant
to water resources management are:
Powers to enter into agreements relating
to the carrying out or maintenance of works or the operation of
Powers to lay pipes.
Powers to discharge water in conjunction
with works purposes.
Compulsory works orders.
Powers of entry for enforcement purposes.
Powers of entry for works purposes.
Powers of entry for survey etc. purposes.
74. Agreements under s.158 and entry for
enforcement purposes are the powers most frequently encountered
75. Canals throw up special problems in
abstraction licensing. Mainly, this is due to the exemption from
licensing granted to navigation, harbour or conservancy authorities
where the abstraction or impoundment is in the course of, or results
from, the operations of such bodies.
British Waterways (BW) is in a special position as it alone may
apply for licences from inland waters it owns or manages.
76. Shortage of rain inevitably causes resource
management problems and the need to allocate water where society
regards it as most needed (ie for public supply), and to prevent
77. The Agency and water companies have
various ways of gaining appropriate control in drought situations.
These are emergency drought orders, ordinary drought orders and
environmental drought orders (all dealt with by the Secretary
of State); and drought permits, and restrictions on spray irrigation
(which are dealt with by the Agency).
78. Enforcement is a vital part of the Agency's
activities. In recent years, enforcement has become higher priority.
There has been a shift in attitudes and awareness. Increasingly,
water users and the general public expect water use to be controlled
properly, and problems of over-abstraction put right.
79. The coming of the Environment Agency
in 1996 has led to the need, in particular, to standardise the
way it enforces the various regulatory activities it is responsible
The Agency has an Enforcement and Prosecution
In addition the Agency has an Investigations
Manual. This gives more detail on investigating incidents and
the legal procedure.
The Agency has also an Abstraction Metering
Good Practice Manual.
80. Enforcement officers make inspection
To ensure the licence holder understands
what the licence says.
To ensure the licence holder is complying
with the conditions of the licence.
To ensure that monitoring/measuring/metering
arrangements are in place and working.
To ensure that records of abstracted
volumes are maintained to standards specified in the licence and
show a true record of the abstraction operation.
To ensure that the licence is being
charged correctly ie in accordance with the charges scheme.
To show that the Agency provides
a positive and responsible presence in the field.
To show that the Agency must, and
will, enforce the licensing rules firmly, fairly and impartially.
The Environment Agency
ABSTRACTION LICENCES IN FORCE AND NEW LICENCES
|Licences in force
||New Licences Determined
|North East||4,679||North East
|North West||3,767||North West
|South West||11,136||South West
|England & Wales||46,632
||England & Wales||1,421
WATER USE IN THE FOOD AND DRINK SECTOR
Water use data for the food and drink sector in England and
Wales for 1997/98.
Public Water Supply
These are total national figures.
See Annex B. Back
Specifically, to conserve, augment and redistribute the water
resources in England and Wales and secure their proper use: s.6(2)
Environment Act 1995. Back
There are special rules determining responsibilities over the
border with Scotland. See s.6(3) Environment Act 1995. Similarly
the Agency has complex regional and area boundaries which are
partly "political" and partly based on catchment boundaries. Back
See s.15(1) WRA 1991. Back
Section 7(1)(c)(iii) Environment Act 1995. Back
See s.21-23 WRA 1991. However, this has not, to date, been done. Back
See s.4 Environment Act 1995. Back
The Environment Agency and Sustainable Development: DoE,
MAFF, Welsh Office November 1996. Back
See pp.23-24. Back
Water Nature's Precious Resource: a Strategy for the Sustainable
Development of Water Resources, NRA 1994. (Note, the Agency is
currently-November 2000-preparing new National and Regional Water
Resources Strategies). Back
See also Planning Policy Guidance note 12 Development Plans
and Regional Planning Guidance. Back
Section 39 Environment Act 1995. Back
See s.20 WRA 1991. Back
Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain
public and private projects on the environment ("the EA Directive"). Back
Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds ("the
Birds Directive") and directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation
of natural habitats and of wild flora and fauna ("the Habitats
Directive 90/313/EC on the freedom of access to information on
the environment ("the Environmental Information Directive"). Back
See generally, Environment Act 1995 s. 6 to 9. This takes over
equivalent duties in the WRA 1991. Back
Ie. The Habitats, Birds and Environmental Assessment directives. Back
See s. 4(1) Environment Act 1995. The government has published
guidance on this in The Environment Agency and Sustainable
Development (DoE November 1996). Section 3.2 of that refers
to sustainable development being "development which meets
the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their own needs". The Agency must have
regard to this guidance: see s.4(2) to (4). Back
See s. 9(2) Environment Act 1995. Back
Code of practice on Conservation, Access and Recreation; approved
by SI 1989 No. 1152. Back
Bit without prejudice to specific duties set out in s. 7 Environment
Act 1995. Back
See s. 6(1) Environment Act 1995. Back
The meaning of these words and related expressions do not appear
to have been discussed in cases relating to water. They have however
been extensively debated in planning cases: see eg South Lakeland
DC v S/S Environment  1 All ER 573, and government guidance
on planning in relation to conservation areas: see generally DoE
circular 8/87 and PPG 15. Back
See s. 7(1)(a) Environment Act 1995. The difference between these
positive obligations which apply to water resources-to "further"-and
pollution control functions is that in the latter the Agency's
duty is limited to "having regard to the desirability"
of conserving and enhancing, etc. Back
See s. 7(1) Environment Act 1995. The "Ministers" (in
practice in water resources the Secretary of State) are subject
to the duties in a very similar way. The Secretary of State must
also act consistent with his duties under s.2 Water Industry Act
1991 (general duties in relation to the water industry). Back
Ie the Nature Conservancy Council for England (English Nature)
in England or the Countryside Council for Wales in Wales. Back
Note that the land does not have to be a site of special scientific
interest (see Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, s. 28) or subject
to similar designation, to be of "special interest"
for these purposes. Back
Section 8(1) Environment Act 1995. The provision refers to the
land being of special interest by reason of its flora, fauna,
geological or physiographical features and being potentially affected
by schemes, works, operations or activities of the Agency or by
an authorisation given by the Agency. "Authorisation"
includes any consent or licence under the Act which is required
from the Agency: s. 8(5). Back
Including the Broads Authority; as to the Broads Authority, see
Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988. Back
SI 1994:2716. Back
See s.36 WRA 1991. Back
Eg consent for groundwater investigations, drought order or permit. Back
Eg notice of dewatering works with Agency's option to serve conservation
Note-this is to be replaced shortly with a new s.222 by virtue
of the Environment Act 1995. Back
See s.35(3)(b)(i) and s.221(3)(b) WRA 1991. Back
See Reg.8(2) Successions Regulations. Back
See s.65 WRA 1991. Back
The detailed rules are in s.67 WRA 1991. Back
See s.37 WRA 1991. Back
Ie not more than 20 m3/day: s.37(6) WRA 1991. Back
See s.34(3) WRA 1991 and Reg.10(2) Licenses Regulations. Back
See s. 46(5) WRA 1991. Back
See s. 46 WRA 1991. It is also desirable to indicate an area of
use in water supply areas. Back
See s. 47 WRA 1991. Back
See s. 47 WRA 1991. Back
References to the Secretary of State include references to the
National Assembly for Wales. Agency written guidance-from which
the memorandum was drawn-was written before the Assembly came
to power. Back
See s. 43 to 45 WRA 1991. Back
Provisions for this are in s. 41 to 42 WRA 1991. Back
Ie except where the authorised abstraction quantity is simply
being reduced. Some other types of variation are regarded as so
insignificant in water resources terms that the Agency's practice
is to treat them as minor amendments and not require publicity
See generally s. 51 WRA 1991. Back
See generally s. 52 to 54 WRA 1991. Back
See s. 61 WRA 1991. Back
See s. 55 and 56 WRA 1991. Back
See s. 49 and 50 WRA 1991 and the Succession Regulations 1969
See s. 10 and 23, and sched.2 Water Industry Act 1991. Back
Ie. the regional Standard Unit Charge (SUC). Back
Ie. with capacity of not more than five MW. See s.125 WRA 1991. Back
See s. 41 EA 1995 & the Environmental Licences (Suspension
& Revocation) Regulations 1996 (SI 1996:). Back
See s. 61(4) WRA 1991. Back
See s. 204 and 205 WRA 1991, cf. Environmental Information Regulations
See s. 201 WRA 1991. Back
See s. 158 WRA 1991. Back
See s. 159 and 160 WRA 1991. Back
See s. 163 and 164 WRA 1991. Back
See s. 168 WRA 1991. Back
See s. 169 WRA 1991. Back
See s. 170 WRA 1991. Back
See s. 171 WRA 1991. Back
See s. 26 WRA 1991. Back
See s. 66 WRA 1991. The same rule applies to one-off consents
for abstraction of not more than 20m3 of water under s. 27(2)
WRA 1991. Back
Ie under s. 57 WRA 1991. Back